Rabbit Snuffles

Filed Under: Pocket Pets, Diseases, Rabbits

Commonly known as "snuffles," nasal catarrh, or pasteurellosis, is a highly contagious bacterial infection affecting rabbits. Snuffles produces a discharge from the nose and eyes.

The fur on the rabbit’s front legs and chest may become soiled as she attempts to clear the secretions. The infection usually presents itself as a cold, with the rabbit often displaying symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, loss of appetite and general lethargy. Any rabbit displaying these symptoms should go to their veterinarian immediately. Snuffles may result in other infections, abscesses, and pneumonia. Although this condition can be low-grade and stretch out over a number of weeks, it can also affect some rabbits very quickly and infect the bloodstream, which can be lethal.

Rabbits can be infected by contact with other rabbits with snuffles, or contact with such a rabbit’s environment: bedding, water and food can all pass on this infection. Rabbits with snuffles should be separated from healthy rabbits to prevent any transmission of the infection. The infected rabbit’s hutch should be moved as far away from healthy rabbits as possible. When you handle a rabbit with snuffles, wear something over your clothes, such as a hospital gown, paint smock or old shirt, and gloves, and wash up before you attend any other non-infected rabbits. Disinfect any food or water bowls after washing.

Crowded rabbits, rabbits under any type of physical stress—such as childbirth—or very young rabbits are quite susceptible to infection. Some rabbits can still be carriers of the infection even if they do not seem to be infected. A rabbit who seems to have recovered from snuffles should be held away from other, healthy rabbits for a while before introducing them to the group again. If you get a new rabbit, it should also be held in a temporary quarantine until your veterinarian has determined it isn’t a carrier.

Snuffles can be treated easily with antibiotics if your rabbit sees a qualified veterinarian with rabbit experience as soon as you suspect she may have snuffles. Early identification will get rid of the infection much faster. Your veterinarian will also give you more information on how to properly disinfect and clean your rabbit’s things and quarantine your rabbit. If you have any suspicions that your rabbit may have snuffles, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Topics: bacteria, contagious diseases

Symptoms: coughing, lethargy, loss of appetite, sneezing, unthrifty coat

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